With the club having been seven points adrift in the relegation zone after a precarious first season back in The Premier League, it all came down to West Ham.
It was a game that had Villa fans become experts in algorithms, pondering every which way that a result at The London stadium could go, combined with that of Watford’s trip to Arsenal and Bournemouth facing Everton.
It was no surprise to see an outpouring of emotion (relief?!) from the players not only when Grealish scored but at full-time, after learning that the point Villa had earned was enough to retain top-flight status.
As good as Grealish’s powerful strike to give Villa the lead was his celebration, leaping into the arms of team-mates on the side-lines. There are many in this squad who have come a long way, have been through a great deal and it was great to see the raw emotion of what it meant:
With West Ham having equalised after a wicked deflection (ironically) off Jack Grealish, the VillaVerse had to hold it’s breath and await the result from The Emirates. Whilst Watford had been 3-0 down, they had clawed themselves back to 3-2. However, in order to stay up, they’d need to score twice in second half injury time. It was ultimately beyond them:
I imagine that few would have woken up on Sunday morning imagining that they’d be humming La Bamba for the rest of the week.
Pepe Reina, Villa’s on loan veteran goalkeeper from AC Milan has been a charismatic and likeable figure since his arrival. Unorthodox yes, but experienced and calm behind an at times shaky defence. It remains to be seen what will become of Reina who has made it clear that he wants to play at this stage of his career. With Tom Heaton still out with a long term injury and the Premier League due to return in mid-September, this might not be the last we’ve seen of him!
The former Spanish international capped off Villa’s survival with an extrodinary exhibition of song and dance:
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